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Tuesday, 14 April 2015

Springtime Calls for Sunchokes!

Nutrition

Sunchokes are a great source of iron, potassium and thiamin. They are also low in calories and high in fiber. Inulin, the primary carbohydrate in sunchokes, minimally affects blood sugar and is touted as a diabetic-friendly carb.

What to Do with It

Storage

Sunchokes will keep in the produce drawer of the refrigerator for 2-3 weeks, though I swear I've kept them for even longer.

Cooking

The sweet-nutty-crunchy qualities of sunchokes can be put to good use in an amazing number of ways. My favorite way to eat them is raw — shaved thinly as in this salad, with a drizzle of olive oil and a blanket of Parmigiano-Reggiano. (But that’s a little too easy — what vegetable doesn’t taste good like that?)  When I prepare sunchokes raw, I usually leave the skin on, but for cooked preparations you may consider removing the skin with a swivel-blade peeler or paring knife (the skin tends to toughen when cooked). Raw sunchokes also make nice toss-ins to salads, and are crunchy enough to be made into slaw. They can be sliced and roasted like potatoessautéed or made into a delicious gratin. The French are famous for a creamy sunchoke soup, but the tuber is also good simply pureed (peel first) and mixed with cream and butter, like mashed potatoes.

Pro Tips

Sunchokes oxidize when exposed to air, just like apples or potatoes. To prevent this, toss with lemon juice before cooking. There are a bunch of other fascinating tips for preparing sunchokes here — one of my favorites is a pointer about preventing sunchokes from turning gray when pureed or made into soup (their high iron content causes this to happen): add a pinch of cream of tartar or an acidic liquid (like lemon juice) to the sunchoke cooking water.


Roasted Sunchokes Recipe (Allrecipes.com)

INGREDIENTS:
1 pound Jerusalem artichokes
(sunchokes)
3/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons dried thyme
1 tablespoon minced garlic
sea salt to taste
DIRECTIONS:
1.Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
2.Scrub Jerusalem artichoke tubers and cut out eyes. Cut tubers into 1-inch pieces.
3.Mix olive oil, thyme, garlic, and sea salt together in a large bowl; add Jerusalem artichoke pieces and toss to coat. Arrange coated pieces in one evenly-spaced layer on a baking sheet.
4.Roast in the preheated oven until Jerusalem artichokes are tender, 35 to 45 minutes.


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